Budget discussions have started and an increase in staff is being considered as the Nanaimo Regional District Board of Directors works on its next financial plan.

RDN directors received a report with recommendations on staffing, service level changes and capital projects at a meeting on November 4. Among the 22 new full-time positions discussed, notable additions include a superintendent of transit operations and an information technology cybersecurity analyst, costing $ 150,000 and $ 99,000, respectively.

The IT analyst is needed due to changing technology and growth in the region, according to the report.

The WireFire Security Review recommended a security analyst position that would focus on firewalls, intrusion detection, routine monitoring, antivirus, malware, and related services and technologies. security, ”Tiffany Moore, interim chief financial officer, told directors. “This is necessary because we receive up to 2,000 emails a day that are either spam or malicious. “

The cybersecurity analyst would serve as the lead and work alongside an infrastructure analyst and an IT / operations technologist, according to the report.

The transit superintendent would assist the RDN manager of transit operations and the duties would include overseeing road support officers and dispatchers for the purpose of safe and reliable transit operations, according to the report.

It also includes a recommendation to make permanent 15 positions that had been filled by temporary workers. It would cost $ 1.3 million to maintain the status quo, while the additional cost of switching to full-time employment would be $ 105,000, or “8% of the current cost of [the] positions, ”Moore said.

Among these positions, there would be two regional and community project engineers at a cost of $ 299,000. The engineering team would grow to four full-time equivalent project engineers, Moore said, with expertise in civil, electrical, electrical, mechanical and construction areas.

“This workforce reduces the risk of regulatory non-compliance and retains invaluable knowledge and expertise,” said Moore. “Currently the positions are funded by the expansion of French Creek Pollution Control and the Departure Bay pumping station and we have a continued need for positions with our 1 year investment plan which has approximately $ 250 million in projects. . “

The meeting documents included a list of previously approved capital projects over $ 500,000 that are expected to begin in 2022. While a total of $ 96 million had already been budgeted, further budget increases could nearly double the costs. project costs to reach approximately $ 189 million. The twinning of the pipes at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Center, which is expected to be completed by 2030, was originally budgeted at $ 19 million and is now expected to cost $ 46 million, according to the report. Engineering work is expected to begin in 2022, with a budget of $ 1 million.

Lantzville manager Will Geselbracht asked about the cost increases and Moore said it was a sign of the times.

“It has a lot to do with the environment we’re in right now… every time we bid the prices go up and I think it’s happening, not only here with our projects at RDN, but [with] all projects, ”she said.

Douglas Holmes, RDN CAO, said steps were being taken to reduce expenses.

“Part of asking for additional approvals for project engineers is trying to get more of our technical understanding of purchasing both inside and outside of engineering companies, so that we can actually take a more thoughtful like this, ”said Holmes. “We’ve had conversations about how we look at our projects, where the expertise resides, how do we build it internally, given that there won’t be a slowdown in these investment projects anytime soon. . “

A preliminary budget will be presented to the directors at the board meeting on November 23. A modified plan will be presented on February 8 and the adoption of the budget is scheduled for February 22.

For more information on the RDN budget, visit www.getinvolved.rdn.ca/rdn-budget-talks.

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